May 24, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “Power Play Disk 1”

The Sixth Doctor and Peri find themselves stuck between a mysterious nuclear plant and some alien cops.

Yeah, still tossing some random Doctor Who stuff out until I get to the next Doctor.  I am curious about Jodie Whittaker’s take on the character, but I know there are only so many of those episodes and I want to hold off as long as possible before I need to find something new for noon.

So, here’s the first disk in a two disk story from Big Finish about the Sixth Doctor.

Apparently, this story is a “Lost Story”.  According to some bits at the end of the disk recorded by some of the behind-the-scenes people talking about the story itself, that means it was written as a Doctor Who story once upon a time but, for various reasons, was never actually filmed.  The story’s writer was able, more recently, to adapt the script to Big Finish’s way of doing thing.  Fortunately, it looks like the producers were able to get all of the principal actors back in the form of Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor, Nicola Bryant’s Peri Brown, and Deborah Watling as Second Doctor companion Victoria Waterfield.

Yes, I did just see Victoria in an animated serial.

As for the plot, it goes something like this:  the Doctor is being pursued by space cops when the TARDIS drops him and Peri off in Great Britain near a nuclear power plant.  Meanwhile, a now elderly Victoria is protesting the plant with her environmentalist group.  There’s something fishy going on there.

However, on her way to the protest, Victoria and her friend David spot the TARDIS.  She recognizes it and goes over to take a look, hoping to see the Doctor again.  But those space cops zap the TARDIS with a stun weapon, knocking out Victoria and David outside the TARDIS and the Doctor and Peri inside of it.  The Doctor doesn’t know Victoria and David were out there.  David, meanwhile, seems to think the alien cops are just jokers in Halloween masks.

There’s a lot of fun to be had here.  Baker carries a certain amount of gravitas in his voice, and Bryant’s American accent sounds a bit better to my ear.  It’s also a very self-aware story.  Victoria left the TARDIS before learning anything about Time Lords or regeneration, such that when she and the Doctor do meet up again, she doesn’t recognize him at all while he does remember her.  Furthermore, when Peri is taken hostage at the power plant by the tricky owner of the place, her reaction is basically, “How typical.”

As it is, the cops realize that David is not a Time Lord, but they also learn Victoria knows the Doctor.  They brainwash her to “destroy” the Doctor while he’s busy looking into the mysterious nuclear plant that has power surges that should lead to meltdowns but then mysteriously…stop.  Are the cops and the nuclear plant connected?  Not really, but the Doctor is stuck between the two regardless.

You know, this might have worked as a live action episode, but the BBC’s tight budget probably wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive as my imagination when I just hear the actor’s voices.

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